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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Sigv ErfÓl 27I

Judith Jesch (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Erfidrápa Óláfs helga 27’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 696.

Sigvatr ÞórðarsonErfidrápa Óláfs helga

Róms létk ok helt heiman
hermóðr á fǫr góðri
gjallar vǫnd, þanns golli
gaf mér konungr vafðan,
sult, þás silfri hjaltat
sverð dýrt, þats viðr þverrðan,
lǫgðum vápn en vígðum,
vers ylgjar, staf fylgðum.

Létk hermóðr {vǫnd gjallar}, þanns konungr gaf mér, vafðan golli, ok helt heiman á góðri fǫr Róms, þás lǫgðum dýrt sverð, vápn hjaltat silfri, þats viðr þverrðan sult {vers ylgjar}, en fylgðum vígðum staf.

War-weary, I left behind {the rod of clamour} [SWORD], which the king gave me, wound about with gold, and set out from home on the good journey to Rome, when we [I] put down my precious sword, the weapon hilted with silver, which succeeds in lessening the hunger {of the husband of the she-wolf} [WOLF], and we [I] followed the consecrated staff.

Mss: Holm2(73r-v), 325VI(41rb), 321ˣ(278), 73aˣ(214r), Holm4(68vb), 61(129vb), 325V(88rb), 325VII(41r), Bb(205rb), Flat(126vb), Tóm(160v) (ÓH)

Readings: [1] létk ok helt (‘let ek ok hellt’): ‘hef […]g hafdan’ 325VI, hefi ek hafðan 321ˣ, lét en ek helt Flat;    heiman: heima 61, 325V, 325VII, Flat, Tóm    [2] á: af 61, í Tóm;    góðri: ‘go[…]’ 325VI, góðir 61    [3] gjallar: ‘[…]allar’ 325VI    [4] konungr: konungi Tóm    [5] sult: ‘smellt’ 325VI, svalt 321ˣ, sælt 325VII;    þás (‘þa er’): þat er 325VI, 321ˣ, þá ek 73aˣ    [6] dýrt þats (‘dyrt þat er’): ok blátt 325VI, er blátt 321ˣ, 73aˣ;    viðr: með 325VI, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, við 61, 325VII, viðir Flat;    þverrðan: herðu 325VI, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, ‘þvnnlan’ Bb, þverrðu Flat    [7] lǫgðum: ‘laugð[…]’ 325VI, lǫgðu Flat;    en: hinu 61;    vígðum: vígðu 61, Flat, Tóm    [8] vers ylgjar: so 61, Flat, Tóm, ver sylgjar Holm2, 325VI, 321ˣ, 73aˣ, Holm4, 325V, 325VII, Bb;    fylgðum: fylgjum Bb, fylgðu Flat

Editions: Skj AI, 264-5, Skj BI, 245, Skald I, 127, NN §§668, 1853F; ÓH 1941, I, 617 (ch. 254), Flat 1860-8, II, 371; Jón Skaptason 1983, 181, 310.

Context: Sigvatr receives leave of absence from Óláfr when the king leaves for Garðar (Russia), and travels the following summer to Rome.

Notes: [All]: The stanza is introduced, þa qvað hann visu þessa ‘then he spoke this stanza’ in ÓH, which might suggest that the stanza is a lausavísa, or was taken to be so by the prose compiler. It is included here on the grounds of a clear link with st. 9; see Introduction. — [1] heiman ‘from home’: Skj B instead reads heima, hence létk heima ‘I left at home’, but see NN §668. — [3] vǫnd gjallar ‘the rod of clamour [SWORD]’: Gjǫll is a rare word, but its meaning is indicated by the cognate verb gjalla ‘resound, make a loud noise’, a concept frequent in battle-kennings, and LP: gjǫll 2 takes it as a term for battle. Skj B and Skald print it with a capital letter, perhaps implying either one of the rivers demarcating Hel (cf. Grí 28; SnE 2005, 9, 47), or the flat stone to which the Fenrisúlfr was bound (SnE 2005, 29), though the connection of either of these with swords is unclear. — [3, 4, 5] vafðan golli; hjaltat silfri ‘wound about with gold; hilted with silver’: Cf. st. 9/2, 4 above and Note. Sigvatr may have inherited the very weapon used by Óláfr at Stiklastaðir, or have been given one of equal quality earlier (cf. Sigv Lv 3). The late Viking Age Dybäck sword found in southern Sweden (Graham-Campbell 1980, 70-1, 246) accords closely with Sigvatr’s description here. — [6] viðr þverrðan ‘succeeds in lessening’: Lit. ‘makes lessened’, with viðr = vinnr (3rd pers. sg. pres. indic.) ‘makes, wins, achieves’ + þverrðan (m. acc. sg. p. p.) ‘lessened’, qualifying sult ‘hunger’. — [7, 8] vígðum staf ‘the consecrated staff’: This is the pilgrim’s staff; cf. Sigv Knútdr 10/4.


  1. Bibliography
  2. Skj B = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1912-15b. Den norsk-islandske skjaldedigtning. B: Rettet tekst. 2 vols. Copenhagen: Villadsen & Christensen. Rpt. 1973. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. NN = Kock, Ernst Albin. 1923-44. Notationes Norrœnæ: Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. 1. 28 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  5. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. Flat 1860-8 = Gudbrand Vigfusson [Guðbrandur Vigfússon] and C. R. Unger, eds. 1860-8. Flateyjarbók. En samling af norske konge-sagaer med indskudte mindre fortællinger om begivenheder i og udenfor Norge samt annaler. 3 vols. Christiania (Oslo): Malling.
  7. ÓH 1941 = Johnsen, Oscar Albert and Jón Helgason, eds. 1941. Saga Óláfs konungs hins helga: Den store saga om Olav den hellige efter pergamenthåndskrift i Kungliga biblioteket i Stockholm nr. 2 4to med varianter fra andre håndskrifter. 2 vols. Det norske historiske kildeskriftfond skrifter 53. Oslo: Dybwad.
  8. Graham-Campbell, James and Dafydd Kidd. 1980. The Vikings. London: The British Museum and New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  9. Jón Skaptason. 1983. ‘Material for an Edition and Translation of the Poems of Sigvat Þórðarson, skáld’. Ph.D. thesis. State University of New York at Stony Brook. DAI 44: 3681A.
  10. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  11. Internal references
  12. Diana Whaley 2012, ‘The Separate Saga of S. Óláfr / Óláfs saga helga in sérstaka (ÓH)’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, pp. clxxvi-clxxix.
  13. Not published: do not cite (RunVI)
  14. Not published: do not cite ()
  15. Matthew Townend (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Knútsdrápa 10’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 661.
  16. R. D. Fulk (ed.) 2012, ‘Sigvatr Þórðarson, Lausavísur 3’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 702.

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